WESTBROOK â€” It took Blackwell a little while to work out the kinks Friday when it faced Lueders-Avoca in a Six-Man, Division II bi-district playoff.
But then that wasnâ€™t too surprising, since it was only the Hornetsâ€™ second game since Oct. 11.
Once the machine start-ed running smoothly, how-ever, it became unstoppa-ble as Blackwell overcame a slow start for a 70-26 win.
Down 14-6 early in the second quarter, Blackwell (10-1) outscored the Raiders 64-12 the rest of the way â€” decisively getting its first playoff win since the 1996 season, when the Hornets were 10-2 and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
â€śI hope it doesnâ€™t take us that long to win another one,â€ť said head coach Clint Lowry when told how long it had been since a playoff victory at Blackwell. â€śI donâ€™t know if it was nerves or what, but after (the slow start) I thought we played extremely well.â€ť
Blackwell â€” ranked No. 11 in Six-Man, Division II â€” now advances to play No. 3 Grandfalls-Royalty (10-1) in the area playoffs. Details were still being determined at press time on Saturday. Lueders-Avoca finishes its season with a 7-4 record.
After scoring on its first possession for a 6-0 lead, things went sour for the Hornets. Blackwell was poised for a two-score lead after a first-and-goal at the Raidersâ€™ 9, but Lueders-Avoca held and a 64-yard run by Timothy Campbell tied it at 6. Campbell then put his team up 14-6 when he scored on a 50-yard run and kicked the extra point early in the second period.
After that, Blackwell took control. First came a seven-play scoring drive capped by Franck Canoâ€™s 6-yard run. Canoâ€™s 3-yard run on fourth-and-1 kept the chains moving prior to his TD, and Wade Allenâ€™s kick tied it at 14. Matthew Lowryâ€™s interception then led to the go-ahead score for Blackwell, which came on his 6-yard pass to Allen with 3:48 left in the first half.
Lueders-Avoca cut the lead to two, 22-20, when Campbell scored his third touchdown on a 5-yard run, but the extra point failed.
Blackwell made it 30-20 on Canoâ€™s second TD run a short time later, this time on a 5-yard run. The defense held, giving Lowry time for a 34-yard TD pass to Allen with 23 seconds left. Allenâ€™s kick made it 38-20 at halftime. â€śThat gave us all the momentum in the world,â€ť Allen said. â€śIt was the biggest play of the game.â€ť
â€śThat was a big momen-tum shifter,â€ť Matthew Lowry said of the TD, which completed a 32-point quarter for Blackwell. â€śWe were super eager (to play) since weâ€™d had three bye weeks, and we got it going in the second quarter.â€ť
The lead kept growing after that. TD runs of 13 yards by Cano and 14 yards by Jayden Jones (226 yards rushing) made it 54-20 in the third quarter. The Hornets ended the damage with two more touchdowns in the final quarter while limiting Lueders-Avoca to a single second-half score.
â€śI thought our defense played as well as they have all year,â€ť Clint Lowry said. â€śOn offense we have been clicking, but tonight the defense also stepped up.â€ť
Blackwell finished with 467 yards of offense.